Saturday, December 13, 2008

Only Themselves to Blame

I can’t quite bring myself to wish for a too speedy recovery of the economy, fearing the selling out of unions and workers in the interest of Wall Street investors and corporate CEOs to achieve an empty, polarizing national “prosperity.”

When I hear Republicans (Senator Bob Corker et al.) blame unionized auto workers for the collapse of the US auto industry—not bad management, not overcompensated CEOs, not arrogance and irresponsibility towards the environment and consumer safety, not the prioritization of advertising over customer service—and, further, to tweak the figures on worker compensation to include benefits as part of hourly wages and yet make no comparison to what the highest paid execs get for failing miserably in their jobs—I suspect that the plan in the works is to screw the little people to make them compliant employees and consumers—like the Chinese, from whose financially engorged government the US will borrow the billions that will disappear into the black hole of corporate bookkeeping and overseas wars (lest we forget the $9 billion that vanished in “Iraqi reconstruction” in 2005).

I am hardly an expert on money—I’m deep in debt, living payday to payday on a community college instructor’s salary, yet as subject to the allure of smart, trendy bistros and glittering commodities as the next guy—so I do not understand how further debt and inflation will solve matters.

Isn’t a large part of the problem speculation and the fluffing up of fiat currencies to self-fulfill capitalist myths that business must grow or die? Really, why can’t somebody who makes a million dollars, let’s say, live comfortably on that amount—and not immediately set sights on a billion? Why must a corporation favor investors so very much more than its customers and employees?

No, I have no answers, and I fear I have an insufficient grasp of the problem—but even if American workers are indeed “overpaid” when compared to workers in India and Mexico, how is it that they—and not CEOs who average over $600,000 per year ($14.2 million per CEO at Fortune 500 companies)—have “only themselves to blame” for the collapse of the economy, not only in the United States, but in Japan, the UK, Iceland, etc., etc., etc.?

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